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Meenakshi Gaur, Cyril Ramathal, Renee A Reijo Pera, Paul J Turek, and Constance M John

Our overall goal is to create a three-dimensional human cell-based testicular model for toxicological and spermatogenesis studies. Methods to purify the major somatic testicular cells, namely Leydig cells (LCs), peritubular myoid cells (PCs) and Sertoli cells (SCs), from rats, mice and guinea pigs have been reported. In humans, the isolation of populations enriched for primary LCs, PCs or SCs also have described. One objective of this study was to determine if populations of cells enriched for all three of these cell types can be isolated from testes of single human donors, and we were successful in doing so from testes of three donors. Testes tissues were enzymatically digested, gravity sedimented and Percoll filtered to isolate populations enriched for LCs, PCs and SCs. LCs and PCs were identified by colorimetric detection of the expression of prototypical enzymes. Division of PCs and SCs in culture has been reported. We observed that primary human LCs could divide in culture by incorporation of 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine. SCs were identified and their functionality was demonstrated by the formation of tight junctions as shown by the expression of tight junction proteins, increased transepithelial electrical resistance, polarized secretion of biomolecules and inhibition of lucifer yellow penetration. Furthermore, we found that human SC feeder layers could facilitate germ cell progression of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) by microarray analysis of gene expression.

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Joanna Gonsalves, Paul J Turek, Peter N Schlegel, Carin V Hopps, Jingly Fung Weier, and Renee A Reijo Pera

Klinefelter syndrome (KS: 47,XXY), occurs in one in 1000 male births. Men with KS are infertile and have higher rates of aneuploidies in sperm compared with normal fertile men. In the course of analyzing recombination in a population of infertile men, we observed that four men in our study presented with KS. We examined whether these men differed in recombination parameters among themselves and relative to normal men. Even though the number of men with KS analyzed was small, we observed remarkable variation in spermatogenesis. In spite of the fact that the men had the same genetic cause for infertility, two of four KS patients had few or no spermatogenic cells that progressed through meiosis to the pachytene stage, whereas the other two men produced abundant pachytene cells that had recombination frequencies comparable with those of fertile men, although one had a significant reduction in fidelity of synapsis. Moreover, regardless of histological appearance, examination of outcomes of assisted reproduction indicated that sperm were extracted from testis biopsies in all four cases, and when used in assisted reproductive practices chromosomally normal babies were born. These results reinforce that: (i) men with the same underlying genetic cause for infertility do not present with uniform pathology, (ii) the checkpoint machinery that might arrest spermatogenesis in the face of chromosomal abnormalities does not prevent pockets of complete spermatogenesis in men with KS, and (iii) aneuploidy, in some cases, is compatible with birth of a chromosomally normal child, suggesting that sperm produced from a background of aneuploidy can be normal in men with KS.